How to pass the 170 mark

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glucose101
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How to pass the 170 mark

Postby glucose101 » Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:04 pm

I know this question has been asked a million times, and I'm sure I could go searching for the answer, but here it is anyhow: what really puts one over the edge from the 160s to the 170s?

Obviously working smart and reviewing ACs contributes (and using MLSAT, VLSAT, the Bibles, pithypike's guide)--but what specifically on each section should someone do to get there?

While naturally high scorers are welcome, I'd love to hear from those who took it several times to gather what they learned upon studying each time until they hit the 170 mark. I want to pinpoint what made "it" click for them.
Last edited by glucose101 on Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Lock74
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Re: How to get passed the 170 mark

Postby Lock74 » Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:07 pm

This also interests me. TAG

shepson
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Re: How to get passed the 170 mark

Postby shepson » Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:07 pm

I improved my score from 159 to 171. The 100 hour class I paid $1300 helped, but I think there is no substitute for practice. Get copies of the most recent tests (maybe starting with the 30s or at 40), take them timed in an environment as similar to the real test as possible. Go back and (try to) understand every question you've gotten wrong. Learning to manage your time well and leave enough minutes for the tougher questions is very important.

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ScratchableItch
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Re: How to get passed the 170 mark

Postby ScratchableItch » Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:23 pm

This is an interesting question. I had several "ah-ha!" moments when things started to click. One such moment was after going through the Powerscore Logic Games Bible and taking my first timed practice section. The second moment was when I had taken about 20 practice tests and actually could see patterns and, even more importantly, started knowing what tricks were in the question before I finished reading the stimulus.

Both took time, but helped me retake and get a mid-170s the second time.

Also, what helped me improve the most was THOROUGH review after each practice test, within 24 hours. Go back through and basically retake the test, focusing not just on why you got answers wrong but also why you got them right. Think through your thought process with each question and make sure you are reinforcing good habits and ridding yourself of bad.

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NoodleyOne
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Re: How to pass the 170 mark

Postby NoodleyOne » Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:28 pm

Other than the obvious (get the best study materials), there is one thing that I think is often confused on here. Study well.

That doesn't mean study hard. Study hard is drilling 40+ hours a week. That's all well and good, but if you're not dissecting the answers, both the ones you got right but acknowledged as difficult and the ones you got wrong in detail to not only find out why the right answer is right, but why the wrong answers are wrong, you're just wasting paper and time. Take a calculated approach and be aware of how you are doing.

The other thing is do some targeted drilling. Get LG to -0 consistently is pretty easy (although apparently not on the June 2012 test grrrr...) and will show the quickest immediate impact on your score. After that, I would move to studying LR hard since, after all, that is half the test, and improvement on that will help big time. RC is a little trickier to study. I can't explain how or why, but I did get much better at RC, starting at around -6 and now I am at -0 to -2 every time. I honestly think studying for LR kind of indirectly assists RC too, since the questions tend to be similar, but really, I don't know how I improved it, I just know that it got a lot better.

Oh, and read carefully. At around ~170, you probably "got" it all down, but I think what separates 170 from 180 is 180 takers get the test more. 170 understands the question types, 180 understands what the test is trying to do. That might not make sense, and I might also be way off, but yeah. Anyway, good luck and 170 is attainable.

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cc.celina
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Re: How to pass the 170 mark

Postby cc.celina » Thu Jul 05, 2012 3:00 pm

Timetimetime. When I started out I took tests untimed, but kept track of what I would have gotten on the timed version (aka didn't count anything I didn't answer or changed after time ran out as credited). Even when I could get high 170s untimed it took me a LONG time to break 170 timed. Dissecting your answers and reading the PS bibles and everything are really important, but in my opinion sheer repetition helped me out a lot.

The point is to get REALLY fast at EASY questions. On hard/lengthy/complex questions (parallel reasoning comes to mind), you should be allowing yourself as much time as you need to get the right answer, because these are the questions that separate 170s from 160s. You also need time to check, because sometimes you're just going to misread an AC or forget that the question said "except," and you need to be able to do a quick check for these mistakes. The way to get enough time to do these things is to drill, drill, drill easier question types until you instantly recognize the patterns and it takes you no time to answer them. Easy/medium assumption questions, for example, should literally take one quick skim of the stim and ACs, maybe 30-45 seconds at the most. General advice is to drill questions you have trouble with, and I think this leads people to neglect questions they can normally get right, but with drilling they could get them right FASTER.

Just my advice! Other people might disagree. Take what you will!

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Nova
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Re: How to pass the 170 mark

Postby Nova » Thu Jul 05, 2012 3:03 pm

Lots of stories and advice from 170+ scorers here, viewtopic.php?f=6&t=396

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agcl0913
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Re: How to pass the 170 mark

Postby agcl0913 » Thu Jul 05, 2012 3:37 pm

Lots of great tips already. My two cents: I went from 168 on the Feb test to 174 this June. Honestly, I think a big thing was just familiarity with the test. By the time the June test rolled around, I had been looking at LSAT material in some form for roughly 8 months. Like the poster above said, that wasn't all "studying hard." Some weeks I did minimal studying, but I think because it was spread over such a long period of time, it became second nature.

Another big thing I think helped me in June - when I studied for June, I reviewed my PT's BEFORE I checked the answers. I looked at every question I was unsure of, no matter if it was totally guessed or 90% sure I had picked the right AC. It was sort of a game - could I figure out if I had picked the right answer or not? Sometimes I wrote it out, sometimes I just did it mentally. I think that helped a lot with identifying what the right answer and the wrong answers look like, instead of "well, I already know this is the right answer..."

Drill LR. I didn't do it the first time. Mistake. It's 50% of the test. The easy/medium questions should be second nature to you.

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Clearly
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Re: How to pass the 170 mark

Postby Clearly » Fri Jul 06, 2012 3:29 am

Get several less questions wrong. :mrgreen:

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Icculus
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Re: How to pass the 170 mark

Postby Icculus » Fri Jul 06, 2012 3:32 am

See Pithypike's guide, adapt to your own strengths and weaknesses.

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=41657

shntn
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Re: How to get passed the 170 mark

Postby shntn » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:04 pm

shepson wrote:I improved my score from 159 to 171. The 100 hour class I paid $1300 helped, but I think there is no substitute for practice. Get copies of the most recent tests (maybe starting with the 30s or at 40), take them timed in an environment as similar to the real test as possible. Go back and (try to) understand every question you've gotten wrong. Learning to manage your time well and leave enough minutes for the tougher questions is very important.

This.

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mindarmed
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Re: How to pass the 170 mark

Postby mindarmed » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:09 pm

cc.celina wrote:Timetimetime. When I started out I took tests untimed, but kept track of what I would have gotten on the timed version (aka didn't count anything I didn't answer or changed after time ran out as credited). Even when I could get high 170s untimed it took me a LONG time to break 170 timed. Dissecting your answers and reading the PS bibles and everything are really important, but in my opinion sheer repetition helped me out a lot.

The point is to get REALLY fast at EASY questions. On hard/lengthy/complex questions (parallel reasoning comes to mind), you should be allowing yourself as much time as you need to get the right answer, because these are the questions that separate 170s from 160s. You also need time to check, because sometimes you're just going to misread an AC or forget that the question said "except," and you need to be able to do a quick check for these mistakes. The way to get enough time to do these things is to drill, drill, drill easier question types until you instantly recognize the patterns and it takes you no time to answer them. Easy/medium assumption questions, for example, should literally take one quick skim of the stim and ACs, maybe 30-45 seconds at the most. General advice is to drill questions you have trouble with, and I think this leads people to neglect questions they can normally get right, but with drilling they could get them right FASTER.

Just my advice! Other people might disagree. Take what you will!


This x 100. Towards the tail end of my prep, I was able to knock out the first 10 questions of an LR section in about 7-8 minutes by skimming the stimulus through so much repetition. I also believe it is so important, like S. Palin, to DRILL, BABY, DRILL! It's the only way you will understand the more difficult questions (parallel reasoning and its ilk).

bp shinners
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Re: How to pass the 170 mark

Postby bp shinners » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:37 pm

From what I've seen in my class, the difference between someone who scores a 165 and a 175 is that the 165 scorer knows the tips/tricks/methods inside and out, while the 175 scorer understands why those tips/tricks/methods work when they do and also understands when they break down.

Scoring in the 160s means that you have the ins-and-outs of the test down pretty well. You know what it's asking for, and you know how to go about finding it. The tricky questions, however, will trip you up, because you're looking for the shortcuts to the answers instead of just the answers themselves. This makes your prediction for a correct answer choice a little more rigid, and thus less amenable to a question that tries to trick you into a wrong answer choice in some way.

Scoring in the 170s means that you're beyond the tips and tricks - you can see the matrix. The logic underlying the exam makes sense. You have learned methods/tips/tricks to tackle certain questions, but beyond that, you understand why those tricks/shortcuts work. This allows you to not fall for it when the LSAC throws a curve-ball your way. When you predict/prephrase an answer, it's in more general terms when called for, so you can find an answer that isn't exactly what you're expecting.

How to get there:
LR - figure out trends within question types as far as answers go. If you notice you're always picking weaker answer choices, figure out why a weak answer choice is more likely to be correct.
LG - don't just use the tools; understand why those tools were developed. You can either do this by going in-depth into one method, or you can look at several different methods and understand how the same logic led to different ways of solving it.
RC - this is all about pattern recognition; elements of passages that are likely to show up in questions, language that is likely to show up in a correct answer choice.

ruhl88
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Re: How to pass the 170 mark

Postby ruhl88 » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:49 pm

bp shinners,

Can you provide an example of when these tips/methods break down, preferably on the LR section?

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Asst. Principal Bone
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Re: How to pass the 170 mark

Postby Asst. Principal Bone » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:54 pm

The LSAT is fake, when you arrive you actually just fight a really hairy Russian guy and your score is calculated on how long you last in the ring. I would recommend burning your books and picking up all Wrestlemania videos you can find on VHS. Yodoughlayheewhooo...

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glucose101
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Re: How to pass the 170 mark

Postby glucose101 » Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:47 pm

+1 bp shinners

lederhosen
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Re: How to pass the 170 mark

Postby lederhosen » Sat Jul 07, 2012 2:18 am

.
Last edited by lederhosen on Tue Aug 21, 2012 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BalanceCare
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Re: How to pass the 170 mark

Postby BalanceCare » Sat Jul 07, 2012 1:28 pm

If you're trying to go from -4 or -5 LR to -1 or -0, I highly recommend Cambridge LSAT's "grouped by question type" series for the question types that typically trouble you. I got the necessary assumption and parallel question packets and drilled the shit out of them before the June test. When practicing one question type over and over, it becomes really clear how incredibly formulaic the questions are, making it much easier to speed through them on the test.

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boiseman
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Re: How to pass the 170 mark

Postby boiseman » Sat Jul 07, 2012 10:43 pm

.

bp shinners
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Re: How to pass the 170 mark

Postby bp shinners » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:38 pm

ruhl88 wrote:bp shinners,

Can you provide an example of when these tips/methods break down, preferably on the LR section?


Sure, here's two common ones:

1) Soft Must Be True questions ("which one of the following is most strongly supported by the information above?") - Generally, I want a weaker answer choice to a soft must be true question. Why? Well, first, which would be easiest to prove: some child stars are drug addicts, most child stars are drug addicts, or all child stars are drug addicts? If you went with some, you'd be right. To prove that, I just have to go find Jodie Sweetin. To prove my second proposition, I'd have to find several hundred child stars, and to prove my last statement, I'd need to get all of them (each step increases the difficulty). So if I'm a 160 scorer, I'm going to look for the weak answer choice.

This will break down in several cases; here's two. First, what if there are two, equally weak answer choices? In that case, you need to know more about the stimulus than just it's to a soft must be true question. If you're a 160 scorer, you'll go back and waste time re-reading the stimulus; if you're a 170 scorer, you'll already have an idea of what content will show up in the weak answer choice you're looking for because you know the shortcut isn't always enough.

The second place where the trick can break down in a soft must be true question is when you have an unbelievably strong comparative statement. This will let you pick a strong (or at least relatively strong) answer choice. For example, if I know that intensive pasteurization is more effective at killing bacteria than ANY OTHER method, I've got a strong statement (and in soft must be true questions, these strong statement are generally going to play into my answer choice because strong statements are better 'proof' for other propositions). This really strong comparative statement, however, let's me draw specific conclusions about other methods that I couldn't generally in a soft must be true question - for instance, an answer that said C) Intensive pasteurization is more effective at killing bacteria than boiling. Strong statement, brings in content outside the scope, so if you're shortcutting, you might eliminate this one. However, if you know that this strong, comparative statement let's me draw a strong conclusion, you've got it.

2) Flaw questions. When they want to trip you up, they'll give you a straightforward flaw ("Oh, this is obviously a bad comparison!"), then give you three answers that talk about comparisons, or two that use the word comparison and one that is the correct answer, but never mentions a comparison. If you scan the answers and look for the one with comparison, you'll get confused when you think there's 3 answers, or you'll try to pick between the two answers that aren't correct.

Once you get past just the list of flaws and start getting into how those flaws can manifest (since there are several ways any flaw can manifest), you no longer look for 'sufficient/necessary' or 'analogy' flaws, but rather state the flaw in more complete terms ('it treats a term that guarantees a certain result as necessary for that result').

ruhl88
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Re: How to pass the 170 mark

Postby ruhl88 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 8:25 pm

bp shinners wrote:
ruhl88 wrote:bp shinners,

Can you provide an example of when these tips/methods break down, preferably on the LR section?


Sure, here's two common ones:

1) Soft Must Be True questions ("which one of the following is most strongly supported by the information above?") - Generally, I want a weaker answer choice to a soft must be true question. Why? Well, first, which would be easiest to prove: some child stars are drug addicts, most child stars are drug addicts, or all child stars are drug addicts? If you went with some, you'd be right. To prove that, I just have to go find Jodie Sweetin. To prove my second proposition, I'd have to find several hundred child stars, and to prove my last statement, I'd need to get all of them (each step increases the difficulty). So if I'm a 160 scorer, I'm going to look for the weak answer choice.

This will break down in several cases; here's two. First, what if there are two, equally weak answer choices? In that case, you need to know more about the stimulus than just it's to a soft must be true question. If you're a 160 scorer, you'll go back and waste time re-reading the stimulus; if you're a 170 scorer, you'll already have an idea of what content will show up in the weak answer choice you're looking for because you know the shortcut isn't always enough.

The second place where the trick can break down in a soft must be true question is when you have an unbelievably strong comparative statement. This will let you pick a strong (or at least relatively strong) answer choice. For example, if I know that intensive pasteurization is more effective at killing bacteria than ANY OTHER method, I've got a strong statement (and in soft must be true questions, these strong statement are generally going to play into my answer choice because strong statements are better 'proof' for other propositions). This really strong comparative statement, however, let's me draw specific conclusions about other methods that I couldn't generally in a soft must be true question - for instance, an answer that said C) Intensive pasteurization is more effective at killing bacteria than boiling. Strong statement, brings in content outside the scope, so if you're shortcutting, you might eliminate this one. However, if you know that this strong, comparative statement let's me draw a strong conclusion, you've got it.

2) Flaw questions. When they want to trip you up, they'll give you a straightforward flaw ("Oh, this is obviously a bad comparison!"), then give you three answers that talk about comparisons, or two that use the word comparison and one that is the correct answer, but never mentions a comparison. If you scan the answers and look for the one with comparison, you'll get confused when you think there's 3 answers, or you'll try to pick between the two answers that aren't correct.

Once you get past just the list of flaws and start getting into how those flaws can manifest (since there are several ways any flaw can manifest), you no longer look for 'sufficient/necessary' or 'analogy' flaws, but rather state the flaw in more complete terms ('it treats a term that guarantees a certain result as necessary for that result').


Thank you for elaborating, Shinners!




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